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5 reasons why you’d love a pet rat!


Photo by AlexK100 licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

This year for Lunar New Year, it’s the year of the rat!

To celebrate, let’s learn how these little critters make great pets.

That’s right, we said pets!

When you think of pets you probably picture dogs, cats, fish and maybe even birds. But believe it or not, rats have been loyal friends to humans for over 200 years!

In the 1800s, the term “fancy rat” was used to tell the domesticated rats (the ones that live with people) from the ones that live on the street. Fancy rats were even featured in shows — something that still happens today!

Want to know why rats make great pets for both kids and adults? Then keep reading!

Rats are super smart

A white rat looks focusedly on something off-camera

Photo by Greencolander licensed CC BY 2.0

Have you ever seen a rat rollover on command? How about a rat that plays fetch? Rats can do both those things and more!

Rats are very smart, so training them is a piece a cake. In fact, the reason why rats are used in scientific studies (think mazes) is to study behaviour since they have such high levels of emotional intelligence.

Your pet rat will also learn the name you give them!

Rats keep it clean

A grey rat perches on a turquoise towel

Photo by AlexK100 licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

Feel free to skip the bath with these little guys!

You know how cats are always grooming themselves? Rats actually groom more often and even better than those felines!

Getting dirty is just not for rats, and if they do get something in their fur, the first thing they do is try to clean it up. (But there are extra-messy times when you may have to give your rat a bath!)

Rats also like to keep their cages nice and organized. And if you have more than one rat, you’ll often see them grooming each other!

Rats have their own personalities

A white rat peeks out from a hole cut into a cardboard box

Photo by Uzbecka licensed CC BY 2.0

These little critters have their own personalities that change from rat to rat. Some rats are outgoing, some are laid-back and some only want to socialize!

Part of the fun of owning a rat is getting to know your pet’s personality and seeing it grow as they become comfortable with you.

Many rat owners say their pets’ personalities can be very entertaining, especially when they get a brand new object or toy to explore!

Click here to see the other kinds of animals you wouldn't think of that people have as pets!

Rats are low-maintenance

A white and grey rat munches on a snack while sitting on someone's shoulder

Photo by AlexK100 licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s not just the lack of baths that make rats low-maintenance pets, but also the fact that there are no walks required!

Domesticated rats make their home in cages. And since they’re nocturnal (active at night), they typically sleep for 13 to 15 hours a day so you don’t have to worry about keeping them occupied for too long at a time. But they’ll happily wake up to play with their owners!

Just be sure not to leave your pet alone for too long, they still need love and socialization just like any family member.

Rats will love you!

Two rats snuggling and posing for the camera

Photo by AlexK100 licensed CC BY-SA 2.0

You know how cats purr? Well rats brux!

Bruxing is a noise rats make by tapping their teeth together and it’s a sign that they’re happy and comfortable in their environment.

Many rat owners say the time they hear the most bruxing is when their pet gets to relax on their shoulder or in their arms. Rats bond to their owners very deeply and recognize their face, voice and will even try to groom their humans as they would another rat!